Wake vs. NC State: preview

Wake Forest vs. NC State
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Venue: BB&T Field
Kickoff: Saturday at 3:30 PM EST
Television: RSN
Wake Forest: 2-3, 0-2 ACC (Lost to No. 3 Clemson 56-7)
NC State: 3-1, 0-1 ACC (Beat Central Michigan 48-14)
Series history: The Wolfpack have an all-time 63-37-6 series edge; however, the rivalry has been competitive (6-6) during the Jim Grobe era.
State beat the Demon Deacons in Raleigh 37-6 in 2012, but Wake won the last meeting in Winston-Salem; 34-27 decision in 2011.
Quotes of the week
"[They are] very talented. They remind me a lot of Clemson; they are very athletic defensively and they really run the ball well. Offensively they give you a lot of things to look at; a lot of different formations, different plays, some wildcats and some different things. A real challenge for us and (they have) some return guys that are pretty special."
"I think it's especially a rivalry to the North Carolina kids with kids they've played against and within some cases, some of the kids on their team. I think anytime you play a team every year, especially when they beat you the year before, I think it gives you a little motivation. I think all the teams in your division that you play every year, you get to know pretty well and so it becomes a rivalry because you play every year." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe
"We're really focused on getting back to doing what we do. In all phases of the game - special teams, offense, defense - we got to get back on the same page and put two good halves of football together."
"We have seven more games. We can't let a loss to a good Clemson team put us out for the rest of the season. So we're just working hard this week and looking forward to putting together two good halves of football."
"I know the crowd will be pretty stoked being that we are coming back home. We need all the energy we can get. It's a great advantage because the last time NC State came here we beat them." - Wake Forest free safety A.J. Marshall
"They play with a lot of speed. One of the staples of our defense is that we have a lot of speed also, so I think that will play into our hands. NC State plays hard, they play fast, so we have to bring our A-game to take advantage of anything against their offense." - Wake Forest defensive end Kris Redding
"Excited to take our first road game as a team, see how we can handle the things that happen when you go on the road, the different routine, the bus, the hotel, obviously an unfamiliar locker room and field. It's a big challenge for us this week at Wake, a place that State traditionally hasn't played well. The last seven of eight times they traveled up there they haven't come home happy. It's been a home-team advantage for the last however many contests."
"We're excited about the opportunity. I know our players are looking forward to competing against them. I know that they will play hard." - NC State head coach Dave Doeren
Keys to the game …
1) Early success offensively
In its three losses Wake Forest sputtered early offensively or was unable to sustain the little success it had to get into a rhythm on that side of the ball.
Wake cannot afford to be in a situation where it is forced to score bunch of points late or down by a few touchdowns early before it can even get on the board if it hopes to pull off the upset.
The aggressive and athletic Wolfpack defense (seventh in the ACC in total defense) will seek to keep the Deacs (last in the ACC in total offense) on their heels from the get go.
2) Havoc
This will be NC State's first road of test of the season. The best thing Wake Forest can do to create a winning recipe is to make BB&T Field as hostile of an atmosphere as possible.
Strong defensive pressure and takeaways by the Demon Deacons will go a long way to securing a victory.
NC State quarterback Pete Thomas has been prone to mistakes (five interceptions to one touchdown pass) this season. It is imperative for Wake to force him into some quagmires quickly.
3) Playmakers
Whether it is Michael Campanaro (429 yards and two touchdowns receiving), Josh Harris (158 yards rushing and two touchdowns), Tanner Price (977 yards and six touchdowns passing, Brandon Chubb (36 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown), Mike Olson (an interception and a forced fumble), Kevin Johnson (two interceptions) and/or Nikita Whitlock (four sacks and two fumble recoveries) or someone else leading the way Wake Forest needs strong performances from its playmakers Saturday.
The supporting cast is clearly limited, so the pressure to perform at high level is greater for this group.